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I have submitted a paper to IEEE Transactions on Broadcasting on September 12th and after about 4 months the status changed from "Awaiting Reviewer Scores" to "Awaiting AE Decision". However, it's been around 40 days that the status has not changed and I haven't received a decision. I have contacted the AE twice politely through email (one month apart) and asked about the status but no response.

What can be the reason for this? Has anyone had a similar experience?

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Unfortunately, turnaround for journals in most areas of computer science can be extremely slow. While I am not familiar with your area or this particular journal, the whole process can take anywhere from months to a couple of years. The typical reasons for the delay include:

  • Computer scientists care more about conferences than journals, so they focus their efforts on that, whereas journals have no hard deadlines;

  • Difficulty of finding reviewers (would-be reviewers say they don't have time); and

  • Reviewers who take months or years to submit their review (it sits on their backlog until the editor pesters them enough to complete it).

In your particular case, note that "awaiting AE decision" does require some work on the editor's part, or maybe even further discussion from the reviewers. So you can't assume that just because the status has changed, the paper is finished reviewing and ready to give back to you.

I would not worry about this. Consider putting your paper up on the arXiv. I have had journal papers take around a year for the whole process, and I have heard of some taking 2-3 years.

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  • No, one does not expect "months to years". While that may happen, it is not typical -- nor should it be the case. – Wolfgang Bangerth Feb 25 at 22:25
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    @WolfgangBangerth I am talking about computer science, where it is absolutely the case. Are you claiming to have submitted to, or know of, computer science journals? I am telling you from my experience it is months to years. – 6005 Feb 25 at 22:28
  • I'm the Editor-in-Chief of the ACM Transactions on Mathematical Software. I think that ought to count as "Computer Science". I have a bunch of other articles in CompSci. The point I'm making is not that it never happens, but that one can expect these kinds of delays. One can not expect such delays, nor should one. And in particular nor should one tolerate them. It's inacceptable. – Wolfgang Bangerth Feb 26 at 4:39
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No, it's not normal. The fact that you're not getting a response from the AE indicates it's even more abnormal.

I would try to contact someone else at the journal (the Editor-in-chief, the journal office) to see what's up.

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    Totally normal in my experience, except the part where the AE does not respond to emails. – 6005 Feb 25 at 22:28

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